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Lexical differences between languages




1. Lexical differences between languages

2. Three types of lexical meaning in translation

3. Divergences in the semantic structure of words

4. Different valency

5. Different usage

6. Translation of monosemantic words

7. Translation of polysemantic words. Polysemantic words and the context

8. Words of wide meaning

9. Translation of pseudo-international words

10. Non-Equivalents, ways of translation

11. Translation of neologisms

12. Translation of words of emotive meaning

13. Rendering of stylistic meaning in translation

14. Translation of Phraseological Units

15. Concretization

16. Generalization

17. Antonymic translation

18. Metonymic translation

19. Paraphrasing



Languages differ in their phonological and grammatical systems; their systems of meaning are also different. Any language is able to describe things, notions, phenomena and facts of life. This ability of language ensures cognition of the outside world. But the ways of expressing these things and notions usually vary in different languages. That means that different languages use different sets of semantic components, that is, elements of meaning to describe identical extra-linguistic situations.

She is not out of school yet. (G.Heyer).

Вона ще не закінчила школи (ще вчиться в школі).


The same fact is described in the English and the Ukrainian languages by different semantic elements.

Benjamin paced his chamber, tension building in him. (E.Taylor).

Бенджамін крокував по кімнаті, його напружений стан все посилювався.


The correlated verbs “to build” and будувати (primary meanings) have different semantic structures, they are not co-extensive and do not cover each other. Consequently the verb будувати is unacceptable in this context. Equivalence is achieved by the choice of another verb – посилюватись. The two verbs “to build” and посилюватись taken by themselves express different notions, but in this context they possess the same semantic componentviz. the component of intensification (of tension). A non-correlated word is often selected in translation because it possesses some common semantic component with the word of the SL text, as in the present case (to build – посилюватись). The existence of a common seme in two non-correlated words is a factor of primary importance in the choice of equivalents which opens up great possibilities for translators. Another example may illustrate this point.

The cash needed to repair the canal is sitting in the bank.

Гроші, призначені для ремонту каналу, все ще лежать у банку.


The verb “to sit” and лежати are by no means correlated words. But they possess one seme in common – to be at rest, to be unused.


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Free Translation | Divergences in the semantic structure of words

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